The city of Essen, this year’s nominee as the European Capital of Culture, decided to take advantage of its position to start a radical change in the Rhur, the region where it is located in Germany. Essen for the Rhur 2010 is the name of the program, which aims is to create a new metropolis in Europe, the Rhur Metropolis: no more old an abandoned industrial areas, but art and culture centres instead.
Their slogan is “Change through Culture – Culture through Change!”, as to say, they want to transform the largest coal mine in Europe into a lively district through culture and art: for this aim, three hundreds projects will be realized in various cities and towns of the zone.
An example is Still life A40: the 18th of july a lunch event was organized on the highway 40 (the most intensively used highway in Europe), which stayed close all day long to celebrate the everyday culture of the Ruhr through music, food and performances.
Image taken from www.essen-fuer-das-ruhrgebiet.ruhr2010.de
Image taken from flickr.com/photos/gerd_burchard/
Another project is the Shaft Sign, made with balloons marking the spots of former coal-mines.
Images by WAZ FotoPool (Manfred Vollmer), taken from www.essen-fuer-das-ruhrgebiet.ruhr2010.de
But the most interesting project is the Light Ruhr 2010: artists, architects and designers created light installations in different places of the Ruhr, in order to show in a very visible (and visual) way the ongoing change of the area. Some of the works are installed into the coal mines, transformed into rich and lively public spaces, like in the Landschaftpark in Duisburg Nord, but also in other sites with a different quality of space like the Zentrum für Internationale LichtKunst in Unna.
Image taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/34408161@N04/
Image taken from flickr.com/photos/everglade10/
The Landschaftpark in Duisburg Nord was an old steel and coal mine abandoned in 1985, then transformed between 1991 and 1999 into a landscape park by the architects Peter Latz+Partner. The new transformations create a strange relationship between industrial archeology, art and landscape, which looks charming and fascinating to our eyes.
Image taken from latzundpartner.de
Industrial archeology has come back to life. The Bechers would be proud.